This is a project where 30 people got together to act as the GMs of the 30 MLB teams with the idea of conducting the offseason in one week. This is what happened in this simulation, not a prediction of what will happen in real life.
By Dan Spiro
After finishing the 2017 season with 66 wins and the 3rd worst record in MLB, one would assume doom and gloom over the city of Brotherly Love. However, that’s not the case with this franchise as they enter the 2017 offseason. With a number of prospects and young talent already on the 40-man roster, the Phillies have an opportunity to take advantage of over $65 million in cash to use during the free agency period.
As the Phillies enter the 2018 season, they only have $35 million committed to their payroll. (and that’s after giving raises to all 5 arbitration elig. players). Remember, it was only 3 seasons ago that Philly had a team budget of just under $150 million. Going by the $100 million budget for this project, that left me with a little under $65 million to play around with via free agency/trades.
The Phillies young lineup is promising, and only going to get better with time. That is partly why our main focus was on pitching. Specifically, to rebuild the starting rotation.
Our first move was trading fan favorite Rhys Hoskins. An offer came in from the Red Sox to acquire Rick Porcello/Sam Travis for Hoskins. With plenty of money to spend, Porcello’s $21 million contract wasn’t an issue. In 1B prospect Travis, he’ll have the ability to compete right away with Tommy Joseph for the starting 1B job. Hoskins’ 18 HRs in 50 games was impressive. But, it’s not often you get the chance to acquire a Cy Young award winner, so we risked trading away Babe Ruth 2.0 in order to improve depth at SP and 1B.
The SP moves then continued with the acquisition of Julio Teheran from Atlanta for Aaron Nola. Nola has a lot of potential at 24-years old, but Teheran himself is only 26. A change of scenery is definitely needed for Teheran, and his $8 million contract fits in well with our budget.
With Porcello/Teheran as our #1,2, we traded for Edinson Volquez to slide into our #3 or 4 spot in our rotation. Combined with an injured Vincent Velasquez, Jared Eickhoff, and FA signee Jordan Lyles – we feel that 1-5 in our rotation has improved a great deal.
We upgraded our OF by signing (way over-signing) Carlos Gonzalez for $15 million. With lots of money to spend, we definitely overbid, but the 32-yr old can still hit for a lot of power – when healthy. Citizen’s Bank Park could be perfect for his swing.
Our final big move was trading OF Nick Williams to the Red Sox for Jackie Bradley Jr. and Heath Hembree. While Williams offensive upside is greater than Bradley’s, we felt that the defense Bradley provides makes up the difference. So with Gonzalez, Bradley Jr., Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, Roman Quinn patrolling the OF, that’s a nice mix of speed, power, defense.
The infield will pretty much stay in-tact from 2017 (except hopefully more playing time for top prospect JP Crawford). Maikel Franco received the most interest on the trade market, but expectations are for him to become our franchise player. In what many considered a down year, Franco still hit 24 HRs while driving in 76.
We failed in both free agency and trades to add a closer to our bullpen. However, adding Koji Uehara and Hembree, should help closer Hector Neris, and set-up men Luis Garcia and Victor Arano.
Trading Nola and Williams might not have been the best long-term moves for the franchise. However, in this project we set our goal to improve the team as much as we could for next season. With 4 trades, and 3 FA signings, we feel as if we did just that.
1. Rick Porcello Cl – Hector Neris
2. Julio Teheran Luis Garcia
3. Edinson Volquez Victor Arano
4. Jared Eickhoff Heath Hembree
5. Vincent Velasquez(DL) Koji Uehara
6. Jordan Lyles
1B – Tommy Joseph
2B – Cesar Hernandez
3B – Maikel Franco
SS – Freddy Galvis
C – Jorge Alfaro
OF – Carlos Gonzalez
Jackie Bradley Jr.
|OF||Jackie Bradley Jr.||5,900,000|
|Cole Hamels 2018 – $$$||2,500,000|